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Lewis legislators working on first round of interviews for two spots


LOWVILLE — The first round of interviews isn’t quite complete as Lewis County legislators look to fill the vacant county manager position and possibly replace County Attorney Richard J. Graham.

Out of 25 applicants for county manager, five top candidates were selected to be interviewed. Scheduling conflicts have prevented the board from finishing that first round, according to Legislative Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan. He said he hopes to complete them soon.

The county manager position has been vacant since the resignation of David H. Pendergast on April 30.

Two separate rounds of advertising and interviews were unsuccessful in filling the seat.

Legislators drew up a resolution, then tabled the matter and eventually withdrew the resolution to appoint Brian J. Wohnsiedler, Harrisville, former executive director of the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District. Concerns had been raised about his departure from that post, where he had been borrowing money against future state grants to continue to pay operating costs. No criminal action was determined, but Mr. Wohnsiedler stepped down after the Soil and Water board said it had lost confidence in him.

Legislators then decided to wait to fill the position this month.

Legislators received eight applications for county attorney, though three have since been eliminated as they either did not respond to an interview request or did not meet the minimum qualifications.

Mr. Graham has served in that position for 11 years and has expressed an interest in staying there.

The intent of the incoming Legislature, including six newcomers, has been to solicit interest in the post rather than just reappointing Mr. Graham for a two-year term, as has been done recently with other department heads whose terms are expiring, Mr. Tabolt said.

Though Mr. Graham’s appointment expired Jan. 1, local law states he will remain county attorney until either he or a successor is appointed.

At least two of the remaining attorney candidates were interviewed in the last week.

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